Glamour and Glitters dominate ISA’s
26th MISS TEEN PHILIPPINES AMERICA PAGEANT
By ISA PRO Ruben Curameng
Metro Washington D.C.: Glitters and glamour dominated this year’s Miss Teen Philippines-America organized annually by the Ilocano Society of America (ISA), Inc. held 28 May at the Fairview Park Marriott Hotel. The vibrant audio visual and lighting effects with big screens provided by ISA’s sponsor, the Events Technology Solutions (ETS), dictated the trendy mood for the evening blending well with the pageant’s elegance.
ISA President Grace Valera thanked this year’s pageant Chair Sally de la Cruz, co-chair Vangie Toledo, Wilma Brown, Art Caliquiran and other ISA officers/ members and recognized them for their 25 years of running the pageant since 1985. Many changes have been introduced this year including the change of name from Miss Teenage Philippines-USA Pageant to Miss Teen Philippines America and the use of more trendy and glitzy effects that added more elegance and colors to the entire pageant’s production. ‘I have been attending the pageant almost every year and this is an entirely different production this year, very energetic, more colors with a fashion runway ramp”, says one of the guest. Another guest observes, ‘this looks like a mini Migrant Heritage Commission’s People’s Ball with all these big screens, great sound and lighting effects, plus lots of dancing. I thought there won’t be much dancing since it’s a beauty pageant but this was contrary to what I was told”
Miss Virginia USA 2011, Nikki Poteet, captivating everyone with her towering height of 6’ 4” coupled with her enchanting smile was the evening’s inspirational speaker with Philippine Embassy’s newly married glowing Consul Corina Apostol conveying Ambassador Cuisia’s warm greetings.
Six (6) beaming contestants vied for the prestigious title and crown in a special night attended by almost 400 guests. It was a tough night for the Board of Judges composed of Philippine Embassy’s Consul Corina Apostol, Theatre Actor/ Opera Singer Mr. Ron Curameng, Fran’s Studio’s Artistic Director, Ms. Grace Villanueva, the charming Mrs. Asia USA Janet Hixson who flew from North Carolina and Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute President Mr Abdur Rahim. The Board selected this year’s winner from a group of contestants who are mostly recipients of Presidential Awards for Academic Excellence.
The young 2011 beauties, joined by past ISA Miss Teen winners, charmed the audience with their ritzy opening dance number using sequined fans from Southern Philippines. Like any other competition, only one winner takes home the crown but the 1st runner-up and the finalists all went home with their respective titles.
Miss Teen Philippines-America’s winner is 16 year old Chessa Taboada of Catonsville, Maryland (Baltimore area). Chessa wowed the crowd with a Lady Gaga’s most recent hit song ‘Born this way”. According to some Judges, her confident and bubbly personality with her smart and crisp answer during the interview segment the night before and the question and answer during the pageant night gave her an edge ahead of the rest of the contestants which made her the winner this year. Miss Taboada is a sophomore at Catonsville High School. Miss Taboada is a consistent honor roll student of her school with a 4.0 GPA and a recipient of Presidential Academic Excellence Award. In addition to her honor of Miss Teen Philipines-America, she was also voted Miss Congeniality by her peers. She is the chic daughter of Dr. Velma A. Aboada & Engr. Alfredo M. Taboada Jr.
Heather Carlson came in as 1st Runner-up and was awarded the distinct title of Miss Teen Philippines Metro Washington D.C. The First runner-up takes over the crown in the event that the reigning beauty queen is no longer able to fulfill her duties during her reign or fills in Taboada’s position in some official events whenever required. The 15 year old well-poised daughter of Helen and Thomas Carlson is a ballet dancer and a model and has received various awards for dancing, acting, modeling as well as for academic excellence.
There were four finalists but following the pageant’s tradition and guidelines, no ranking was given and they were announced at random order.
The most popular of them all, making her win the Miss Popularity Special Award for having invited so many guests, was Stephanie Marquez. This award will require her to go back to next year’s pageant turnover aside from this year’s winner. Stephanie, the intelligent daughter of Jun and Emilyn Marquez, is also a Presidential Academic Excellence Awardee and has displayed her stirring talent in dramatic monologue. She also won the Miss Charity Special Award. In addition to her special awards, Stephanie was given the Miss Teen Philippines Heritage title
Another finalist was Maia Ennis, the cute and petite daughter of Irene and Jeffrey Ennis. Maia was given the title of Miss Teen Philippines Luzon. Maia is also an honor roll student and a recipient of Presidential Educational Excellence Award. Singing is definitely her proven prowess captivating everyone with her melodious voice.
Lizane Joyce Mata, also a finalist, was given the Miss Teen Philippines-Visayas title. She impressed everyone with her blindfolded fast tinikling bamboo dance. Lizane Joyce, the stylish daughter of Lourdes and Vic Mata, is also a straight ‘A’ student and a recipient of the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence.
Finalist Erika Cronin, the youngest among all the contestants, was selected as this year’s Miss Photogenic. Erika, the sweet daughter of Rose and Joseph Cronin, touched everyone’s heart with her violin playing of ‘Bayan ko’ music. Erika, also an honor roll student, was given the title of Miss Teen Philippines-Mindanao.
This year’s winner gets a round trip plane ticket within the continental U.S. courtesy of Alpha Travel and ISA, a gift bag courtesy of MTJ Traders and a gift certificate from Cho and Louie Ortega. The First Runner-up receives a jewelry set courtesy of Jhennie’s Jewels. All of the young ladies receive college Scholarship bonds from ISA on a graduated scale with the winner receiving the highest.
Emcee Carl Abella and co-emcee Hannah Cabrera Johnson, ISA’s 2008 Miss Teenage Philippines-USA, handled the evening with much grace and banters in between. The competitive event denotes character & self-reliance building for young Filipina ladies as they enter maturity and become responsible citizens. Atty. Arnedo Valera of the Migrant Heritage Commission and ISA’s Legal Adviser in his closing remarks, reiterated the utmost importance of leadership in unity & awareness of social justice for all immigrants, legal or otherwise.
Aside from the candidates’ guests, many Presidents and officers/members of various Fil-am organizations also graced the event. All of the guests enjoyed the festive ambiance for the evening. One ISA officer says “ I strongly believe that moving the date of the annual beauty pageant festivities prior to Memorial Day was an excellent idea.” Thanks to the ISA committee for a job well done! We also acknowledge the love and sacrifices of the parents of these lady-contestants. ISA extends its kudos to President Grace Valera for her great leadership.